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Building Greece Island Itinerary for April

Hi there!

My partner and I are trying to build an itinerary around a stay at a family friend's property in Mykonos (March 29-April 2). I know Mykonos will be very quiet this time of year, we are looking forward to the isolation and peace (we live year-round in New York City, and the property has a private pool overlooking the sea). We would like to add one more island after Mykonos (3-4 nights), along with a full day in Athens on the backend of the trip.

Given that this is barely shoulder season in the Greek Islands, I am looking for suggestions for one other island to visit after Mykonos. We were originally interested in Santorini (typical, I know), but we have heard how developed and commercial it has become. Then we found Milos, and are very interested in the authenticity of this island, the quiet fishing villages like Klima and Mandrakia, and the natural scenery and beautiful rock/beach formations. We would love somewhere with a touch of sightseeing, but mostly just nice landscapes, where we can enjoy a sunset with some wine at a restaurant/taverna, and walk around quaint towns (like Plaka). The worrying part is the lack of connectivity between Mykonos and Milos this time of year. I saw that indirect ferry routes are upwards of 24 hours in length, which just seems highly inconvenient for our schedule, or flights through ATH and back again.

We would so appreciate any suggestions for well-matched and efficient island pairings with our stay in Mykonos, specifically with our travel dates of April in mind! Thank you all very much!

Posted by
1272 posts

While Milos meets all your wishes you have identified the logistical problem. Even in high season the connection mostly runs way late. Island hopping while it sounds like fun can use up valuable vacation time.
I would suggest you find an island close to Mykonos with a short ferry commute. I would suggest Naxos which is less than an hour ferry commute. It has beaches, a lovely main town with old back alleys, a Venetian era Kastro and a large waterfront promenade. It also has mountain villages where you will see what Greece used to be like. Throw in some antiquities and you have a full package.

You could also consider Paros which is similar to Naxos.

On the other hand since you are early season Santorini is also a viable option. Everything will be up and running but the tourist hoards will not be there yet. You probably could not choose a better time from a crowd perspective.

Here is Naxos
Naxos town
Trip around Naxos

Naxos 2019

and Santorini

Posted by
1305 posts

A full day in Athens likely won't be enough unless you've been there previously or unless antiquities don't interest you. You could go back to Athens for the 3-4 nights and do a day trip to one of the Saronic Islands. BTW, Porto Rafti is a quaint, picturesque little beach town near Athens airport.

Posted by
6 posts

Our main purpose for the trip is to spend time on the Islands. We really only have an interest in seeing the Acropolis sites, wandering Plaka (staying here), and going to the Monastiraki market. We will be landing around 4pm on the 27th and will be leaving the morning of the 29th. It feels like the right length of time for just a glimpse since we have other interests.

Posted by
669 posts

I too would recommend that you consider Naxos. Loved our time there; spent a day with Nicolas at Naxos Discovery Tours; easy flight back to Athens.

Posted by
1305 posts

Two nights and a full day will certainly give you a feel for Athens. FYI - the only island I've been to is Santorini. It's definitely worth visiting! We stayed in Oia for three nights in April 2016 - spectacular views and not crowded except for sunset viewing (overrated) and the one morning a cruise ship was in port. I rented a car so we drove around the island and visited the archeological site at Akrotiri as well as the nearby Red Beach (pebbly but an awesome setting). Later we drove over to the black resort style beach at Perissa and pretty well had island and the beaches to ourselves that day. We didn't spend much time in Fira because it didn't look as pristine as the rest of the places we saw. Regardless of which island in addition to Mykonos that you visit - don't waste a lot of time on the ferry. Have a great trip!

Posted by
3961 posts

I would agree with stanbr’s suggestions. We did enjoy Santorini for a few nights but felt it was not the Greek experience we expected. Our best experience in the Cyclades was our 6 nights on Naxos. Naxos ticked all the boxes for history, wonderful landscapes, quaint villages, excellent cuisine & wines. We would return in a heartbeat. Naxos could be a great addition to your stay on Mykonos. I can’t speak to the March/April time frame because we were there in September. We took the ferry from Athens to
Naxos>Santorini and flew back to Athens.

Posted by
6 posts

Santorini is the diamond of ALL the Greek isles and you are defiantly missing out if you do not go there. It has
ton more of your boxes checked than Mykonos. I would highly recommend you forgo your free stay with friends on Mykonos in leu of Santorini. While the beaches might be better on Mykonos there is no possible way you will be sitting on any beach or go in water for that matter in March. During season, Mykonos is known as "party capital" with their GATED, SUPER HIGH CLASS all inclusive mega resorts that European millionaires flock to(this is why the island has notoriety compared to any of the others).
With that said. You are correct. this is "OFF" season that means all the quaint cafes and shops you are dreaming about will most likely be closed on Mykonos or Santorini for that matter. Plus, better hope it is not extremely windy and cold as season dictates so you can sit at your cafe's if you find one open. Easter week April 17th 2022 is the beginning of when things start to open up on the Greek Isles.

People dislike Santorini because of the cruise ships and hoards of arrogant, loud, pushy passengers clogging the streets(just like NYC ;) ). Off season there "should" be none of that. Defiantly better chance of at least some things be open compared to Mykonos. Think of Santorini as "Niagara Falls" or "Las Vegas" a MUST SEE (wonder of the world) at least once in your life and Mykonos as simply another of the many Greek islands that tend to blend together no matter which one you pick. Good Luck!

Posted by
565 posts

Hi Danny,
The thing about Santorini that does not get mentioned often enough is its proximity to Folegandros, an isle that so far, has a good balance of commercial tourism with wilder, more 'authentic' rural agricultural. Folegandros has an exceptionally attractive Hora, VG cove beaches, a public bus (???) plus a local taxi, not to mention a wide variety of good restaurants plus one of the Cyclades' best-value splurge hotels.
One gets from Santorini over to Folegandros by boat.

Btw, travel writer Jennifer Barclay's latest book, Wild Abandon, gives a good description of some of the most obscure and less-trodden Dodecanese isles. Worth a read.

I am done. The end.